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Get FREE airport fast track security with Mastercard – why didn’t we know about this?!

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In a discussion on HfP yesterday about the value of the Fast Track airport security passes that you get at Gatwick when you pre-book the No1 Lounge, reader Keith mentioned that you can get free Fast Track security at selected airports if you have a Mastercard.

This includes London Gatwick and London Luton, plus five other UK airports.

This was news to me, and is probably news to you too.

You need to register here for Mastercard Travel Experiences.

How does Mastercard Travel Experiences work?

It’s very simple:

  • you receive THREE Fast Track airport security passes every 12 months
  • you receive discounts at selected airport restaurants when you show your Mastercard Travel Experiences ‘e-Cert’ or the app

The only catch as far as I can see is that only the named cardholder can use the Fast Track passes. Your family or partner can only accompany you if they register a Mastercard of their own.

Which Mastercard cards are ‘participating’?

It isn’t clear, so you need to use trial and error.

My Curve Card was accepted. Our reader yesterday said that his Barclaycard Avios card was refused, but this was very shortly after launch so the situation may have changed.

If you don’t have a card that works, you can order a free Curve Card here. Curve will even give you £10 for ordering it via our link. It doesn’t show on your credit file as it isn’t a credit product.

Please post your successes or failures in the comments.

(EDIT: Reader feedback below is mixed and confusing. Curve cards seem to work for some people but not others. The same goes for Currensea. Other UK cards seem to fail, but cards issued in the EU seem to be OK. It is all very odd.)

Which airports offer Fast Track security to Mastercard holders?

You cannot see the full list of 177 participating airports on the Mastercard Travel Experiences website. It shows the first 15 alphabetically but you can’t see the rest. The app doesn’t show any of the 177 airports and insists that you plug in random airport names to search.

Mastercard Travel Experiences fast track

However, I tried the major UK airports with manual searches.

You can get free Fast Track security passes for the following airports:

  • Aberdeen
  • Glasgow
  • Liverpool
  • London Gatwick
  • Luton
  • Newcastle
  • Southampton

It doesn’t work for Belfast, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Derry, Doncaster Sheffield, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Exeter, Humberside, Inverness, Isle of Man, Jersey, Leeds Bradford, London City, London Heathrow, London Stansted, Manchester, Newquay, Norwich, Southend or Teesside.

What restaurant discounts are available?

The list of airports with restaurant discounts is far bigger than the list of airports which offer Fast Track.

At Heathrow, for example, you have:

  • 10% off at Leon (T2)
  • 15% off at Giraffe (T5)
  • 15% off at The Curator (T3)
  • 15% off at The Prince of Wales (T4)
  • 15% off at Wonder Tree (T2)
  • 15% off at Spuntino (T3)

Remember that, whilst I have focused on UK airports here, you can use it at airports globally.

I haven’t tried it out yet but I can see it being useful for low cost flights from Gatwick and Luton. If you have used Mastercard Travel Experiences, please let us know how it went in the comments.

Want to earn more points from credit cards? – December 2022 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (241)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Nick B says:

    Does the BA Barclaycard card work?

  • Tom says:

    My Curve worked

  • Kwab says:

    Yes. A good deal. Don’t forget some of the airports allow children as old as 10 to use the fast track free with a parent.

    Also, you can still get 15% off in the Prince of Wales pub at Heathrow T4.

  • BJ says:

    Fast track just about to become the slow lane…

    • John says:

      Or the benefit is about to be enhanced away.

      • BJ says:

        OT @John, regarding the Hilton 72h upgrades we commented on recently at a certain Hilton. I had a frank, interesting and quite lengthy chat with the GM. You are right on overriding 72h upgrades, and also that they would fall back on my failure to give them the chance to put things right on site. GM shared quite a lot on the issues and challenges from his perspective, particularly trying to manage elite upgrade expectations in a hotel where 82% of rooms are standard Queens and on many nights over half his guests are currently Gold or Diamond. He said too that they also try to hold some of their larger rooms back in event a family with needs (e.g., hospitals in area) turned up at last minute. Said as much as they’d like too, he cannot please all the guests all the time. All he said seemed genuine and I felt sympathetic to his challenges. I was happy to let things go, and we agreed that should I stay again we would meet for a further chat and he’d take care of my reservation personally. I wasn’t all that bothered about the upgrade anyway as I was out at the Hammersmith all days, I was just more curious about the 72h upgrade failure.

    • Lee says:

      M & S, Halifax Clarity, Sainsburys, Curve and Avios Mastercards… – none worked.

  • David says:

    Curve Metal worked for me.

  • Karen H says:

    Mondo and virgin Atlantic didn’t work for me

  • Simon C says:

    HSBC Élite didn’t work for me

  • TimM says:

    Just as premium economy is the new economy, fast track security is as security used to be. Never better illustrated than at Manchester T1 where the post 9-11 and hence relatively new security concourse is often reserved exclusively for fast track while everyone else has to descend two floors and use the degrading and dehumanising security set up in the former underground car park. If you want to be abused by Cell Block H type prison officers, I can recommend it.

    I note that Manchester Airport is not included as part of this Mastercard deal.

    • numpty says:

      Security at EDI gets like that sometimes, its like being back at school in the dinner queue and security staff shouting directly at people for not following the correct (unwritten) protocol while you wait in the queue. When the queue gets too long (back to escalators) I’ve seen the staff tell people to stop queuing up! But they will happily sell you fast track from a self service point at the top of the escalators.

      • BlueThroughCrimp says:

        I try my best to avoid Edinburgh for that very reason.
        What was a very good set up, decent security and ease of egress, it’s an Aldi Airport, with the latest work no more than a shed.
        Glasgow, as much as it pains an East Coaster to say, is miles better.

        • numpty says:

          Even when busy i have always found security at GLA to be decent, and the staff have always been pleasant. In the good old days if you walked up the staircase rather than escalator it took you straight into the fast track queue and by passing the person who stood at the doorway checking passes!

    • Matarredondaaa says:

      Yes Stansted the same. To be honest I shout back at them saying we are not at school and not stupid. Usually it shuts them up!

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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